Home GADGETS Congressmen introduce the National Maintenance Rights Act

Congressmen introduce the National Maintenance Rights Act

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Illustration of an article titled Congressman introducing the National Maintenance Rights Act

photo: Alex Kranz/Gizmodo

The right to maintenance movement has entered Congress. On Thursday, New York Congressman Joseph Morelle (Joseph Morelle) introduced legislation that will make it easier for consumers to repair damaged gadgets without paying any price. more The money goes to the original manufacturer.

If passed, the Fair Repair Act will require manufacturers to provide equipment owners and third-party repair shops with replacement parts, diagnostic information, and tools needed to repair electronic products.So far, most maintenance rights legislation has been State level, But the bill will establish a national standard.

“For a long time, large companies have prevented small business owners and ordinary Americans from obtaining the right to repair their own equipment, thus hindering their progress,” Morrel said. A statement Thursday. “It’s long over time to create conditions for fair competition… and return power to consumers. This common-sense legislation will help make things from mobile phones to laptops to agricultural equipment more accessible and affordable for technical maintenance. , And ultimately give individuals the autonomy they deserve.”

According to Moreler’s bill, the Federal Trade Commission will be allowed to punish companies that are found to violate the legislation. Penalties may include forcing the manufacturer to pay damages or refund the customer.

For now, you usually have to repair your equipment through the manufacturer’s official repair channels, which can be expensive and time-consuming.Not to mention the ridiculous, because you have already paid for the product from the beginning; no one wants to pay Hundreds of dollars For a damaged iPhone, when cheap repairs can solve the problem.

This Right to Restoration Movement Designed to make equipment repairs no longer cause consumers a headache, while also resisting the trend of “planned obsolescence”, in which products created by manufacturers are designed to be unnecessarily phased out and put into the earth’s growing environment. E-waste dump. So far, 27 states Some form of maintenance rights legislation has already begun.

Companies such as Apple and John Deere — both of which are notorious for imposing some of the strictest repair policies to harm customers — believe that these restrictions are necessary to prevent intellectual property theft and maintain the integrity of equipment. However, the US Federal Trade Commission called these arguments nonsense last month.in Lengthy report The agency told Congress that the “lack of evidence” justified the obstacle that the company allowed consumers to jump over during repairs.

The report concluded: “Although manufacturers have provided many explanations for their repair restrictions, most of them have no documented support.”

The FTC pointed out that the covid-19 pandemic has brought this problem to a boiling point.Supply chain shortages due to widespread shifts to remote work hindered many companies’ repair processes and left some customers Wait a few months To repair their equipment. The solution accepted by most consumers is simple: let us fix things ourselves.

“Maintenance rights are meaningful,” Nathan Proctor, director of the PIRG Advanced Maintenance Rights Campaign, said in a press release on the bill. Thursday“It saves money, and keeps electronics in use and away from waste piles. It helps farmers keep equipment in the field and away from dealers. No matter how many lobbyists Apple, Microsoft, John Deere, and other big companies hire To prevent us from repairing our things, the right to repair has been advancing, thanks to Rep. Morrel and other supporters.”

We will have to wait to see if Morrel’s bill can get enough support from other legislators before it can be passed. Although this issue has received bipartisan support, technology giants and lobby groups have a history of pressing lawmakers to cancel state-level bills. Morrel has experienced FirstWhen he tried to pass maintenance rights legislation in New York when he was the majority leader of parliament in 2018, the bill died before anyone could vote, allegedly thanks to A big lobbying push By Apple.

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